Another Winning Levy Partnership With SD2
Last year, Kinetic assisted with the School District 2 (SD2) mill levy campaign. Our communication strategies led to the passage of the first mill levy for Billings public schools in over a dozen years. This year we positioned ourselves as the communications partner with SD2 for its elementary school mill levy.
We had two primary goals behind our 2020 strategy: get the mill levy passed and educate the public on how Montana schools are funded to explain why mill levies are necessary. We also wanted to activate the community to come up with ideas and start a conversation on creating a systemic change on how Montana schools are funded.
The campaign slogan was “Rise Up, Come Together.” The entire concept was to encourage a different reaction. Rather than raise taxes, we were raising one another to make a better future.
We began in early March with strategy and digital initiatives, including social media outreach, website development, video production and social media advertising. Plans for phone banks, door knockers and presentations were in the works. We were leveraging everything for the vote in May.
Then COVID-19 threw a wrench in our plans.
Pandemic Change of Plans
Kinetic, being a full-service agency and an expert at rolling with the punches, re-strategized and started leveraging our services to assist Superintendent Greg Upham in his communications with the community about school closures and COVID-19 precautions. We wanted our school system to be an ally for all of the parents struggling with remote learning. Social media became the main source of open-line communication. Our team helped the school implement a daily Facebook Live stream with the superintendent and the community. Preparing talking points and monitoring social media became daily tasks for our team.
Upham’s first Facebook Live garnered over 5,000 views with an engagement rate of 4%. It became a lifeline for many people to connect with their school despite the quarantine.
Launching a Pandemic Campaign
We had to be cognizant of campaign laws so that there were no issues with funding. Therefore, two accounts and two websites were necessary to convey the educational/informative message on one and a “vote yes to the mill levy” on the other. No publicly-funded employees or equipment were used to campaign for a “yes” vote.
Because of the pandemic, speaking engagements, phone banks, door knockers and feet-on-the-ground campaigning were no longer an option. We directed all efforts into social media, websites and a direct mailer.
Social Media Strategy
Our social media was the main hub of communication. Piggybacking off of the superintendent’s vastly popular Facebook Live sessions, we began posting on social media two to three times daily. Graphics and video were utilized due to increases of engagement rates when utilized. Postings were strategically scheduled using historical data on the page.
Here are the Billings Public School Facebook stats after Kinetic became a partner over the course of 16 weeks:
- Impressions: 1,009,346
- Engagement: 211,014
- Reach: 477,160
- Likes: 1,124
- Followers: 1,916
- Video views: 249,990
- 42% increase in followers
- 26% engagement rate
Stand 4 Students Facebook page stats after a six-week campaign:
- Impressions: 323,486
- Engagement: 21,535
- Reach: 201,775
- Likes: 188
- Followers: 196
- Video views: 49,693
And most importantly for our client and the community, the results:
Voters approved the mill levy with a 54% to 46% margin.